Ocean State Theatre Company‘s current show, Rounding Third, touches all the bases—comedy, nostalgia, poignancy, and relevance.
Even if you are not a baseball aficionado, Rounding Third is a must see. Playwright Richard Dresser delivers a hit that is a perfect mix of nostalgia for the great American game and a poignant, yet comical, look at a life of too many strikeouts and too few hits. Trinity Rep’s Fred Sullivan, Jr. delivers a spectacular performance as Don, the head coach of a local little league team, and OSTC’s Managing Producer Joel Kipper offers a great performance as Michael, the new assistant coach.
Starting out as a sort of “odd couple,” Don and Michael are like a mismatched pitcher and catcher. Neither one seems to know the other’s signals. At times, they don’t even seem to be playing the same game. Their first meeting, at a local watering hole, is awkward, getting their relationship off to a rocky start. It only gets worse when Don tells the kids on the team that winning is the only thing that matters, while Michael tries to explain that winning isn’t important – as long as they have fun.
As the season progresses, Don and Michael settle into a pattern that sometimes works, but more often than not leaves both men frustrated. Michael is a great counter to Don’s “win at all costs” attitude. A successful businessman, with a son on the team that can’t hit, run, throw, or catch, Michael is almost overshadowed by Don, whose son is the star pitcher of the team. In the course of the season, Don and Michael reveal little bits and pieces of themselves, bringing depth and understanding to their characters. The complexity of the game is mirrored in the complications of their lives. By the end of the play, Michael’s confidence has grown, and he is able to hold his own with Don.
Anyone who has ever played ball, had a child on a team, or watched a little league game can relate to Scenic Designer Amanda Hall’s set. An open wooden dugout and a standard chain link fence, Don’s car, and an ordinary equipment bag (the catchers mask goes in first is Michaels’ first lesson from Don) play perfect to the little league setting.
Rounding Third is a funny (yet serious) look at what we strive to teach our children about sports and life, as well as what we sometimes inadvertently reveal to them.
Rounding Third will be presented by the Ocean State Theatre Company from June 3 to the 21st. All performances will be held on Tuesday (except June 9), Wednesday, Thursday (except June 11), Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm and matinees on Sundays at 2pm, and a special Sunday evening performance on June 14 at 6:30pm.
The theatre is located at 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. Tickets are available online 24 hours a day at www.OceanStateTheatre.org and via telephone during normal box office hours by calling (401) 921-6800.
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